As a prelude to the Carsey-Wolf Center’s “Television, Politics, Publics” conference, the Center presents two iconic television shows that deeply explore contemporary US politics: The West Wing and Veep. We will screen season 6, episode 18 of The West Wing, “La Palabra,” and season 7, episode 7 of Veep, “Veep.” Award-winning executive producer/writer/director David Mandel (Veep) and writer/producer Eli Attie (The West Wing) will join moderator Patrice Petro for a post-screening discussion of the creation and legacy of these two programs.
In each episode, a fictional presidential candidate faces grueling personal and political choices as election day approaches. In “La Palabra,” Senator Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) campaigns through California and faces a disappointing third-place finish on Super Tuesday. Adding to his challenges, the Golden State legislature passes an anti-immigration bill that he worries could overwhelm the media narrative he has struggled to create. In the Veep series finale, former vice-president and ex-President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) closes in on her party’s nomination, but challengers soon arise to block her path, forcing Meyer towards strategies that come with high costs. The episode maintains the show’s biting sense of humor and rewards beloved characters with the farewells that they deserve.